Friday, December 17, 2010

Note to Self - a reflection of 2010

“If I only knew then what I know now…”

Boy, do those words make you cringe as you say them, huh? But what a great way to learn and grow and challenge yourself in the future, too.

It occurred to me as I was thinking about my annual prayer for the coming year post (click here for 2009 and 2010) that there is just so much in 2010 to reflect upon. Some good, some bad and all of it I wish I knew then what I know now.

  • You will join the YMCA, hook up with Team in Training for another marathon (this time in San Diego) and raise money like a mad woman. Even when your hip hurts, you’re too tired to fit it all in and it seems like another chore, don’t quit….you WILL regret it.


  • Baby #3 will get braces. Don’t forget to tell her how beautiful she is inside and out as often as possible. She needs to hear it more than you know.


  • Baby #4 turns 10. I know, the last of your babies is no longer single digits. It’s sad, but not the end of the world. Your babies are growing up faster than you’d like, but enjoy the rollercoaster ride. On every curve, massive climb and then rush down hill, throw your hands up and laugh. Scream like a girl if you must, but the ride just won’t last long enough.


  • You will go on your first college visit with Baby #1. It will be hard and you will feel like you are about to have your right arm ripped off. Trust me….this gets easier. She doesn’t want to let go of you any more than you want to let go of her, but you both will be better for it.


  • Baby #2 will finally get her driver’s permit with a little coaxing. Drivers Ed will soon start and even though her driving scares you, you can’t keep her in the house and safe forever. She’s a good driver and with some practice she will be just fine. And the best part? You will also learn that you love her because you want to, not because you have to.


  • Suddenly, business will pick up. You won’t leave yourself enough time to enjoy the amazing gift that God has given you.


  • Baby #4 makes a competitive soccer team. You are so proud and could not be happier to be “that mom”, but you thought you were busy before? Not hardly. Don’t forget to schedule time for your family to simply sit in front of the tv together doing nothing.


  • You will shoot your first wedding – and fall in love with capturing people who are in love. Never forget to look at your husband with that starry-eyed look every time he comes in the room. He is your biggest fan, your sounding board and the one who really does love you for exactly the way you are. You two are that in love couple.


  • You learn very quickly that for every photoshoot you needed to schedule post-production time. You stress and sometimes do less than you should, but you are learning. Be open to better ways to do things and stop kicking yourself when you don’t do it right.


  • You turn 39. Last of the “under the hill” years begins. Don’t stress that either. No matter how hard you try, you will hit 40 regardless.


  • Because of your busy schedule, you will lose focus on hearing God's voice. Clean your ears out, dummy. He is speaking and you can't hear it because you have filled your quiet space with needless noise.


  • Your husband will take a massive leap of faith and start his own business. It won't be easy. He will need your support, your undying devotion, your wise wisdom about some things some of the time and for you to stop talking and just listen most of the time. He has a vision, a dream, a prayer and a hope.


  • Someone your husband dearly loves is slowly dying in front of you. She is a great woman. One of the best. You learn to love her, too, a second mom. Give her all that you have and don't leave anything unsaid or undone. You are learning what it means to just "be" with someone. Giving your heart, your time and your attention - it's priceless to her....and you.


  • Open your heart when you feel the desire to close it. Take off the blinders when its easier to move ahead without looking around. Choose to love instead of dislike. Learn from your mistakes instead of beating yourself down. IN ALL THINGS, REJOICE in the gifts you have been given. Good, bad or ugly, all of it is because you are loved by HIM and HE has a purpose and a plan.


2010 has been quite a year. I'm excited for the future and am for the first time in a really long time (if ever) ok with not seeing what's next. All I do know is in 2011 I'll hold fast and pray for God's wisdom, peace and understanding.

“If I only knew then what I know now…”

Friday, December 10, 2010

Mama said there'd be days like this....

What a day. Not really anything major, but I feel my heart pull the wrong direction.

I woke up grumpy for really no good reason. I went to bed grumpy last night just the same.

I have a million excuses for why I'm grumpy....all revolving around 4 children who can't seem to figure out how to do a single chore without having to be told, encouraged...ok....yelled at. How a child (she's EIGHTEEN) can be lazy enough to leave her laundry in the washer and dryer for three days even after I moved them for her twice, or how another child (she's SEVENTEEN) can't figure out how to get said clothes from the dryer to the lazy sister in order to do her own laundry without asking how to do it (and then proceeding to dump my DIRTY clothes on my BED to use MY basket).

Seriously. GRRROWL.

Oh, there's more. Like how someone can brush their teeth and not rinse the sink afterwords (can you say yuck?). Or how someone can leave every single thing they own practically on the couch tables every night and not care that it's all piled up around them as they sit on the couch (can you say claustrophobic?) . Or how someone can scoop out one cup of dog food for one dog while the other is outside knowing the one scoop is not enough for both dogs, but doesn't care to just scoop ONE MORE CUP (can you say selfish?). Or how I've worked ALL DAY at one job then get home at night to spend hours on the computer doing what needs done for the second job and everyone else in the house seems to be sitting around eating bon bons and watching their favorite tv shows (yes, I'm a bit jealous) and I have to STOP what I'm doing to get lazy children numbers 3 and 4 to take a SIMPLE shower (they are NOT babies!). All the while explaining AGAIN how it's NOT.OK.TO.BE.A.DIRTY.PIG.

I'm exhausted.

I feel disrespected.

I work hard and no one really seems to care.

I have to go to a holiday party (in my absolute GRINCH mood) and spend my precious time with people I don't really care about (I go because I love my husband, but seriously, I'm borderline anti-social here).

I feel like taking a nap and HOPING that someone other than me will load and unload the dishwasher without being asked and without a heavy sigh of "woe is me" from people who have NO IDEA what a woe is really about.

Don't get me wrong. Our home isn't horribly filthy, and I'm probably a bit hyper-sensitive to things that need done and simply ARE NOT getting done. Our home looks lived in and it's too small for 6 people so the problem is probably just compounded by that. Either way I CAN'T STAND IT. I should just clean it myself every week, but for cryin' out loud. I have TWO nearly fully time jobs already! I thought I raised my girls better than want to live somewhere at least decent enough for people to stop in unexpectantly (hell to the no!) or to want to be able to have friends over without being embarrassed (clearly they are not).

Oh, well.

Mama said there'd be days like these....

Thursday, December 2, 2010


44 years ago today the world was made a better place when the cutest blond baby boy entered the world.


Today my adorable husband turns 44. Sometimes he acts like he's 4 and other times he acts like he's 84, but ALL THE TIME, I love him.

It's been a crazy year since his last birthday. We've grown in our marriage exponentially. We've fought and made up and laughed and cried. He took a GIANT leap of faith and followed God's lead by starting his own business. He continued to give so selflessly of his time at church with the 2nd and 3rd graders (no easy task, but the boys look up to him and the girls fight over who gets to sit next to him during lesson time). He put on his cape (he is a super hero, ya know) and came to the rescue of many people in desperate need of God's truth regarding their finances. He held the hand of those who are sad and hurt by situations that make no sense. He continued to be a source of strength for his parents in times when no one else seems to be able to do so. He leads with a quietness that makes everyone around him feel safe and well taken care of.

He is MY husband.

Mark: I continue to thank God for you every single day. You are such an amazing person, someone to be respected, adored and admired. I pray that the next year brings us much happiness and that your work that God has given you continues to bless others, bring you joy and give glory to Him at every twist and turn. THANK YOU for choosing me. My life and the lives of our girls has FOREVER changed because you are exactly who you say you are....a man of God first, the husband of my dreams, the kind of dad every daughter dreams of and a friend many are lucky to know.


I love ya, babe.

"I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus." ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4

Monday, November 29, 2010

Matt & Jamey - a wedding to remember....

Enjoy the highlights from this wedding filled with love and laughter!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


It really is one of God's greatest gifts....and my absolute favorite thing to catch in a photo. If my subject is laughing, I've done my job and the shoot is a success. :0)
Been super, DUPER much so I've not posted much. BUT, I have much to share. I'll be back soon with lots of pictures and stories to tell!

Friday, October 22, 2010

When something is right....

Sitting at the computer working on post-production like a mad woman....and then the best thing happens.


As I sit here, I realize that God has given me a unique opportunity to share Him with my subjects. What a great job I have.

Pretty sure this is my favorite pic from 2010 EVER. Just sayin'.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Turn down the music at the bottom of my blog. This is worth the watch. :0)

Monday, September 27, 2010

My daughter....and a tree....

Round three of senior pictures yesterday. Hoping the kid finds something she likes SOON. Here is one that cracked me up yesterday....and just now. Gotta love her.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Just right this second...

I love it when this happens. When you are in that "place" where all things seem to come together and even through the mega-stress of getting things done you feel completely at ease.

It doesn't happen often. Trust me. I'm a freak of nature most of the time....mind racing, eyes twitterin', spazin' out all over the place (slight exaggeration, but ya feel me?).

But today, right this second, it all feels....easy.

Right this very second I have been reminded:
  • that I have a HUGE God who has seriously proven, once again, that He is here and He is GOOOOD....
  • that I have been so beyond measure blessed with a husband who means what he says and does what he means....
  • that my "quiver is full" and no matter how much it scares me that one of my "arrows" will be flying off my bow in no time flat (231 days til graduation!), she will always be in my heart and never far from home....
  • that I've been given a gift. Something I truly love, deep, deep down....and people keep "showing up" and needing photos for this and that. The latest? An author from TEXAS, here in my town, meeting my pastor at the very moment she gets the call that her book is going to publication NEXT WEEK and she needs to submit a headshot for the BOOK COVER ASAP. Just so happens that my pastor knows a photographer that will "rock your socks". Tell me God wasn't in THAT. Shoot is tonight. :0)
  • that no matter where I am, what I'm doing, how I'm feeling or anything else, all I have to do is LOOK UP. It is in that act of just slightly lifting my eyes toward the sky that I find my greatest peace.

Ahhh.....I feel safe in the wisdom I have just regained. Just right this second.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." ~ Psalm 121:1-2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

1 + 1 = a couple a nuts

Meet twins Vanessa and Trevor (I put Vanessa first...Trevor is a minute older and always gets to go first. You're welcome, V...).

Boy, did we have fun. I'm pretty sure we laughed all afternoon. This family = too funny. They call mom Vivo (Vivian) and dad DJ (his initials). Only time I ever heard "mom" was when Vanessa would yell "MA!" like a good italian girl from Jersey. Believe me when I tell you she is NOT from Jersey....rather a small farm town in Iowa. We just don't have accents like that. She was seriously channeling some Jersey girl. :0)

They also had a plan.....and, man, do I love a plan. They knew where they wanted to go and what they wanted to do. I got to take them to one of my favorite places too....the campus of Central College in Pella. Beau-t-ful.

So here are my favorite out-takes and the ones that worked. It was a tough choice....these kiddos are too cute and too funny.

I paid him .50 cents to show me his best "diva pose"...... hahahaha!!!!

I wanted her to put the ball by her face and give me her best "I'll kick your arse in volleyball" face, but she could NOT do it. :0)

And for my favs....

So thank you Jack family for making our trip a fun one! You guys are seriously awesome!!!
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" ~ Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Babies no longer...

T&C tagged along on a shoot I had on Sunday. I took this of them waiting on us. My babies are babies no longer. Part of me is excited about that and part of me is sad. There are days I miss them being little! Oh, well. Life moves on without you if you stay in one place too long.....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Calm during the storm...

As the storm of doubt, fear, worry and anticipation swirls around me, I stand, protected by the full force of my God....again. Just a few minutes ago I was being blow around with great force. Feeling the full affect of "what if's" and "maybes" as my mind raced to all the undeniable possibilities. But now, by simply typing and reading the scriptures below, I calmly feel fully protected by the promise that NO.MATTER.WHAT, He is here and He is good.

"And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." ~ James 5:15-16

“The Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting …” ~ Psalm 100:5

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” ~ Luke 1:37

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” ~ Ephesians 3:20

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds … Great is our Lord, and mighty in power …” ~ Psalm 147:3

“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19

“For the Lord is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” ~ Psalm 84:11

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” ~ Hebrews 13:8

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray.” ~ James 5:13

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” ~ Matthew 7:7

“Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” ~ James 4:2

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1

Today I'm praying for hope, peace, understanding and the ability to stand upright no matter what.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"I do, you do, we're done"

"I do, you do, we're done"....

Those were the words Jack (jokingly) thought they should use during the vow portion of the wedding.

Yeah. That didn't fly.

What did fly, though, was beautiful. What a gorgeous, absolutely beautiful day for a wedding! Turns out Jack and Lea Ann clean up well! :0) They had a ceremony made just for them, gorgeous flowers and dresses and a church full of people who all have seen the walk they have taken and the way God has turned them toward each other. What a cool, cool thing.

I personally was more dressed up for this wedding than I was my own. :0( Not that I wanted more dressed up for mine, just that I'm a simple girl who wears hardly any makeup so to go from nearly zero to a full face, I felt like a hussy. I will NOT be sharing any pictures.

You're welcome.

Anyway, I'm so excited for my wonderful friends. For the love they have for each other and the love they have for the rest of us. THANK YOU for letting me be a part of your awesome day. I will cherish our friendship forever and Mark and I are here if you ever need us....just as you have been for us.

Lea Ann: you better get a piece of paper and practice writing that's a doozie, Mrs. DeLeon! :0)

"Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me." ~ Ruth 1:16-17

Friday, September 3, 2010

Random mishmosh....


I'm tired. I'm bored (and I should NOT be - I have enough work to do to keep three people working full time for two weeks!). I'm worn out. I'm exhausted.

My ADD is killin' me.

Lots of crazy, random thoughts running through my head today (and everyday) so this post will be a bit mishmosh (I made up that word. It's all mine. Feel free to use it....or not).

I read a new (to me) blog yesterday and God was talking to me. Yep, me. Read this post....especially if you have children leaving or about to leave for college. It's from Soulfari and my new blog buddy, Jay. I'm tellin' ya. Good stuff. My Alli is a senior this year and I am totally avoiding the "what next" stage I am in right now. I'M.SIMPLY.NOT.READY. 'Cuz, you know, it's allll about me. Anyway, read it. Made me begin to think about how blessed I am to be able to let her go. Sigh.

Tonight is Jack and Lea Ann's wedding rehearsal. I'm excited. Tomorrow is the wedding. I get my hairs did and my face "put on". I'll take a picture to show ya. Should be fun....different, but fun. Looking forward to Jack and Lea Ann's wedding. It's been a long time coming (click here to see their engagement photos)! He proposed at our Christmas Eve Eve services last year. They have been plannin' and stressin' and figurin' it all out. This weekend is the culmination of a lot of hard work, but most importantly, God's plan for each of them finally becoming a reality. Woot.

Yesterday I hit a wall. Not literally (felt like it, though). Lots of little things happening lately making me question my photog dreams and desires. I see now, reflecting back on the day, that it was the fat bastard (aka "little guy downstairs") messin' with my head, making me question my desire, my talent and my skill. I'm so thankful for my hubs. He loved me right through my temper tantrum and even said some nice things to the world on Facebook (without being prompted to do so - what a guy). Seriously. Life stinks when things go wrong, accounting goes bad, doubts surface and I want to throw things pout. But God gave me the greatest man ever and he seriously talked me off the ledge....again.

Today is a new day. The joy really does come in the morning. My God is my victory, He is here and He continues to love on me when I need it the most.

Here's to an awesome weekend of soccer for my baby, safe travels for her, my other sweet baby and their dad's family as they get where they are going, for my oldest baby and her "Meals for the Heartland" shift with her friends tomorrow, for my head to stay "clear" of the fat bastard and his crazy shenanigans and for Jack and Lea Ann. May God bless your marriage in ways you can't even begin to imagine. My advice to you both....never forget your wedding day. Tomorrow is your gift from Him. Don't waste it. Happy marriage guys. Love ya!

And with that I leave you with my all time favorite verse: "I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO STRENGTHENS ME!" ~ Philippians 4:13

Peace out, my peeps.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I had the pleasure of shooting a family of 51 (yes....51) on Sunday. The premise for the shoot was not a happy one...the patriarch of the family has cancer (again) and has not been given much time. His entire family came from all over to be there for a family reunion and to celebrate his life.

Now, I don't know about you but doing "end of life" photos is not my idea of a good time. It was a huge blessing to me, though. Larry and his family love each other. I learned a doesn't matter who you belong to, which parent is yours and which parent is your step. It doesn't matter, because you are family. No family is perfect, this one either. BUT....they came together in what is a very hard time for all of them, I'm sure, and laughed. They played and talked and hugged and all that good stuff that happens when family gets together.

It was absolutely my pleasure to be a part of this day. I met a man who wanted to show me his life....the pictures on the wall in the "party barn", the land he owned, the grandchildren and great-grands that are "his"....all of it. I got to hang with, for just a small period of time, a man that has lived his life and has no regrets. I met his wife, who very clearly loves him and their family. A woman who is exactly who she is and could care less if you like it or not. My kind of lady.

I don't know where Larry is going after he passes on. I do know that he still has time to figure that out. God is there, waiting for him to answer the knock on his heart if he hasn't already done so. My God is so big....and I know He loves Larry and each member of that family unconditionally. Run to Him, Larry. I'd love to get to know you better in heaven.

Thank you Wickersham family! For allowing this sinner saved by grace to be a part of your family for just a few short hours. You have truly, honestly changed my heart forever.

Enjoy the video and don't forget to turn off the music at the bottom of the blog before you hit play.

P.S. Mr. Larry gives "the finger" in a few shots. Don't let that bother you. He is who he is and all you can do is smile..... And yes....that is a moonshine still in the last picture. :0)

My favorite of the and Larry. What a cool, cool soul. God bless you, Mr. Wickersham! May your remaining days be filled to the brim with love and laughter.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Meet Kaity....

She thinks I forgot to introduce her to you. I didn't. I just thought I did and, well, I didn't. So, I'm sorry Kaity! I owe you! :0)

Meet Kaity. This kid was the mastermind for tee-pee'ing my house last year at homecoming. Yeah. I found out about it when I was creepin' on my daughter on FaceBook. Kaity will get hers this year. I'm gonna pick one tree in her yard and just COVER it. Then sit in the shade and laugh while she cleans it up. Hahahahaaaaa {insert evil laugh}.....

Honestly, though, this kid is gorgeous. She's funny, smart and just plain stinkin' cute! We had a blast and with the Salisbury House as our location, how can you go wrong. In a few weeks we are going to her house to shoot her with her horse. I'm super excited about that!!! I brought along my second photo, Patty, and I haven't seen what she got yet! Yeah....there are a TON of pictures from this shoot so it was hard to pick my favorites!

So enjoy Miss Kaity....

Hee hee.... :0)

I think this is my favorite of the day....there are too many!

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Meet Taylor....

You don't know her, but you should. Cracks.Me.Up. Mostly because her attitude soooo reminds me of my own. Taylor has no fear of saying what is on her mind. Good, bad or otherwise. I like that about her. She is one of my Alli's besties and they play soccer together, hang out and, honestly, have both mastered the art of acting "dumb". It's hilarious, while absolutely not even remotely close to being politically correct. I'll leave out those details in an effort to not offend anyone, but they really are very funny.

Anyway, meet Taylor. She has the most gorgeous red/blonde hair and really her smile just lights up the room. When she laughs her eyes close and her nose wrinkles. You'll see what I mean. First the "bloopers"....

Ok....not really a blooper, but I LOVE getting pictures of people laughing!!! :)

Not sure what she is pointing at....Alli is who is she is looking at and I'm pretty sure they are talking about a mom of a kid they go to school with who was walking the track. Not in a bad way, just discussing her son.

She's making a "what is that smelllll?!?!?" face....

Gotta love the wind....

Now for the ones that worked..... :0)

I'll be "getting rid" of the "Taylor H" on her ball in final post production....just love the picture.

She can seriously look right through you. If you don't know her she'd scare you with that look! Those who do know her, know she smiles once in a while. :0)
One of my favs of the day....

Hahahahaaaaa!!! Our town has some pretty cool brick streets. I wanted to do this in the middle of the street, but too sunny. Still funny, though.

My favorite of the day.....

You go girl. I had fun wandering the construction zone and contributing to the deliquency of a minor....then remembering you are already 18 so you were on your own if the cops showed up! :0)

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." ~ Deuteronomy 31:6